By Ed Avis
When people picture the interior of The Drafting Clinic in Mississauga, Ontario, they probably envision rows of green eye-shaded men hunched over drafting tables. Of course, that image is completely outdated – the company’s catalog doesn’t contain a single drafting table, but is packed with the latest wide-format printers, scanners, and other equipment.
“We are a technology company today,” says Ralph Richter, the company’s CEO since the 1990s. “The company started in 1979 as a reprographics shop, and still about 5 percent of our business is large-format imaging. But a much larger part of our business these days is imaging hardware, supplies and distribution of equipment for imaging manufacturers.”
The Drafting Clinic, which joined APDSP as a vendor sponsor in November, is really showing its technology commitment lately by re-introducing the Vortex single-pass printer to the North American marketplace.
Back in the USA
The Vortex 4200, a printer driven by the Memjet single-pass inkjet head, was introduced by RTI, another Canadian company, in 2013. The printer was RTI’s first foray into the OEM world, and ultimately the company could not make a go of it. Two much larger vendors – OCÉ/Canon and Xerox – also introduced Memjet-driven printers around the same time, and single-pass color technologies from KIP and HP soon followed. RTI gave up earlier this year, and shut down in June.
How will The Drafting Clinic succeed where RTI did not? Firstly, The Drafting Clinic is
picking up where RTI left off, so it is benefiting from RTI’s deep technology investment. Furthermore, The Drafting Clinic is the North American distributor, but not the technology owner, so their risk is much lower.
The owner of the technology is Rigoli S.R.L. in Milan, Italy. That company originally made the chassis for the Vortex when RTI owned the printer, and decided to take over completely when RTI folded.
Richter says Rigoli has continued improving the machine, and they have the advantage of direct partnership of the engineer who originally designed the machine, Zsolt Tarjanyi.
Among improvements to the machine since the RTI days are: improved service stations, improved print head life, and new, optional Super Bulk 10-litre inks to lower operating costs.
The Vortex is an impressive machine. The five Memjet print heads are arranged in a line and contain a total of 352,000 nozzles, allowing the Vortex to print 42-inch-wide full-color prints at 60 feet per minute. That capability can make short work of about any size project.
The North American installations of the Vortex continue to be supported by Roberto Rockwell, who installed 80 percent of the current units.
Special Offer for APDSP Members
The Drafting Clinic is offering leases on the Vortex 4200 from $37 USD per day, based on a five-year term. Richter has developed a special offer for APDSP members: A free heavy-duty print stacker with the purchase of a Vortex 4200, and/or a 10 percent discount on Rigoli folders and paper trimmers.
For more information, visit www.vortex4200.ca or email Richter at email@example.com.
“We’re happy to present the Vortex 4200 to the market in North America as a compelling alternative to the HP PageWide and other wide-format systems,” Richter says.